Babri Masjid demolition: BJP’s LK Advani, others to be tried for conspiracy
NEW DELHI (92 News) – Senior leaders of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Lal Krishna Advani, Water Resources Minister Uma Bharati and some other party leaders will be tried on the charge of criminal conspiracy in the case relating to the demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, India’s Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday.
The apex court bench also ordered day-to-day hearings in the case to ensure a verdict is delivered within two years.
Advani, 89,a former Deputy Prime Minister, was originally and along with BJP colleagues like Murli Manohar Joshi, charged with making inflammatory speeches that motivated thousands of right-wing volunteers to pull down the 16th century mosque on December 6, 1992.
Now, the BJP veterans, facing far more serious charges, will be tried in Uttar Pradesh’s capital city of Lucknow where, so far, a separate case is dealing with about 20 people accused of the actual demolition of the mosque. The apex court has clubbed the two separate trials.
Kalyan Singh, who was Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh when the mosque was demolished, is currently the Governor of Rajasthan state and cannot be prosecuted while in office under the Constitution. His trial will begin after his term ends, the Supreme Court ruled.
India’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said that it has evidence that the BJP leaders, who made their speeches on a dais near the mosque on the day that it was razed, were part of a plan to bring down the mosque.
The agency said that Advani and other BJP leaders had met the night before the mosque was brought down and decided that it would be razed, which makes the demolition a pre-meditated and deliberate event.
In 2010, the Allahabad High Court had disagreed with CBI about criminal conspiracy charges for the BJP veterans. CBI had moved the apex court challenging that ruling.
The demolition of the mosque came after a country-wide movement spearheaded by Advani for a Ram temple to be built on the same spot where the masjid was constructed by the Mughals.
The razing of the Babri Masjid had sparked riots in several parts of India in which around 2,000 people were killed.